Justine Davies

Justine Davies

“Has anyone ever videotaped the birth of their child? We’re having our first baby in January and my hubby recently bought a new digital video recorder so that we can record our daughter’s (we’re having a girl) development over the years on film. All good.

He’s now decided though that he also wants to videotape the birth. Not as in the first few moments of bonding after she’s born but the whole process of labour from the pushing to the crowning head etc, etc.

And Susan points out that a video introduces a perspective on the event that isn’t yours. 

He’s really, really, really passionate about the idea and I’m really, really, really uneasy about it. I don’t even like photographs of myself, I know that I will definitely not like seeing myself on film giving birth.

He’s told all our friends and family that we’re taping the birth and my biggest fear is that if we go ahead and do it that he’ll show the video to some of them. Even if I tell him not to sometimes he does things impulsively without thinking.

I’ve told him I don’t want to video it – he keeps telling me to reconsider, because I might really regret it down the track. What do your readers think? I’d be interested to know if any of them have taped their birth?

A.”

Firstly, you haven’t said what sort of birth you’re having, or where, so I’m assuming that you can tape it? If so – well – hmmmmm. It’s definitely not something that I’d do, but that’s just me.

To help you out I have asked columnist, author and social commentator Susan Maushart - who is also a mother of three – for her take on it.

“My gut feeling is that if she’s uncomfortable with it then don’t go there - she has to make the final call,” says Susan. “There is very little that you can control in your birth experience; you can do lots of preparation but ultimately it’s in the lap of the gods. But there are a few things that you can do to ensure your own peace of mind and one of them is deciding who is going to be present and what is going to be present at your birth, and a video camera is potentially a very intrusive thing for a lot of people.”

A, Susan believes that you wouldn’t be likely to regret your decision down the track: “I’ve been lucky enough to see videos of others peoples births and thought they were wonderful and fantastic and just inspiring,” she says. “So I’m not opposed to the idea at all. But by the same token I've had three kids – three really amazing childbirth experiences that are in many ways the highlights of my life - and I don’t have a video of any of them. They are not one iota dimmed in my memory except perhaps in a good way!”

And Susan points out that a video introduces a perspective on the event that isn’t yours. “A video is not going to capture the experience as it really is because that is something that happens from within and from the perspective of where her eyes are, not from where the video camera’s eyes are,” she says. “The ultimate record of this event is inside of her. Nobody can take that away from her.”

With regards to your husband, A, perhaps point out to him that if he is glued to a video camera throughout the birth he could well find that it diminishes his experience of the birth, which would be a shame. “Being a photographer really interposes something major between yourself and the experience,” says Susan. "If you are really lost in what you are doing, you probably shouldn’t be taking photos. Let him concentrate his energy on her.”

Good luck with the decision, A. And at the end of the day if you end up with a healthy little daughter then that is the only thing that really matters.

EB Members: Have you ever videoed your birth? Is it something you would ever consider? Click here to discuss.